RR #80: The Big Picture | openCards

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RR #80: The Big Picture

    The Big Picture

    Jean-Luc Picard had to convince Lily Sloane that she was on a starship orbiting Earth. To defeat the Borg, Captain Picard's crew had to succeed on the ship as well as on the planet.

    Event Event
    Special icons: Referee

    Plays on table. Each player who has not solved (or scouted) at least two missions with point boxes (one Space icon and one Planet) needs an additional 40 points to win. (May not be nullified.)

    Rule hint for this card

    This card has an clarification:

    Once you have solved (or scouted) both a space mission and a planet mission (either before or after The Big Picture is played), this event no longer affects you. See victory conditions.

    Taken form Glossary - Version 1.9.5.

    OTF "Banned card list"

    This card is part of the actual OTF banlist published by The Continuing Committee - please don't use The Big Picture in official OTF tournaments.

    Card logging info: Logged by openCards team at May 1st, 2009.

    The Big Picture

    This Card-Review article was written by Kathy McCracken and was published first on "Major Rakals Tal Shiar Headquarters (members.cox.net/majorrakal)" at Aug 21st, 1999.

    This article is part of the article serie "Romulan Review" from "Major Rakal (Kathy Mc Kracken)". Also see:

    Aefvadh! It's high time I started reviewing in depth some of the new cards from Blaze of Glory. And while it's tempting to begin with one of the many great new Romulan cards, there are just as many (if not more) cards that impact the game as a whole, affecting everyone just about equally. So instead of focusing on one affiliation right now, I've decided to first take a look at...


    Plays on table. Each player who has not solved (or scouted) at least two missions with point boxes (one Space icon and one Planet) needs an additional 40 points to win. (May not be nullified.)

    Star Trek, at heart, has always been about facing the unknown, overcoming unexpected hazards and difficulties, and accomplishing the goals of exploring space, "seeking out new civilizations" (usually on planets) and interacting with those civilizations (curing their plagues, for example). In Star Trek CCG, this concept is represented by completing missions on planets and in space, after first facing and overcoming unknown dilemmas (that is, ones seeded by your opponent).

    From the time of Premiere, players have attempted to minimize their exposure to the opponent's dilemmas. First, all-planet or all-space mission sets meant you could count on a specific subset of dilemmas, and could completely avoid the dreaded Sheliak/Q combo or the dreaded Borg Ship (whichever you dreaded the most). Most Space icon or Planet dilemmas fell out of use in favor of Space / Planet combos useful anywhere. Second, strategies based almost entirely on bonus points proliferated to the point where your exposure to opponent's dilemmas could be confined to one mission, or eliminated entirely.

    In an effort to bring those Space icon and Planet dilemmas back out of the binders, and to return to the original design intent (mission-solving), in First Contact the designers gave us Balancing Act and Intermix Ratio. The result? First, we see very few unbalanced spacelines, with a 4-2 split being most common. However, most players never plan on solving the two "off-type" missions, which are there only to avoid Balancing Act's effect. At worst, they expect to solve two of the predominant mission type (three in an emergency). So the opponent's other dilemma combos are wasted justed as much as before. Second, bonus point backup strategies tend to consist of solving only one high-point (50 or more) mission, with the remaining points still coming from bonus points.

    Enter The Big Picture. Now it's not enough to seed two "decoy" planet missions along with the four space missions that you're actually prepared to solve. Unless you're prepared to score 140 points from your space missions and bonus points, you'd better plan on actually completing at least one of those planets. That's right, the one that might have a Sheliak/Q under it, or worse. Or maybe you're a planet-lover, and only put those two space missions on the table to ward off Balancing Act. Now you should count on facing a Borg Ship, or an Aphasia Device/Tarellian Plague Ship combo - again, unless you're prepared to score 140 points somehow. And if Intermix Ratio is in play, at least 70 of those points would have to come from missions.

    It can get worse. If your opponent puts Q’s Planet and The Big Picture in play, until Q's Planet is completed, or you complete the requisite space and planet missions, your victory conditions will be a stunning 180 points. Don't forget that Q's Planet is restricted under Fair Play: if your opponent doesn't solve his Q's Planet, barring a fortuitous Black Hole or Supernova, you're stuck with the additional 40-point requirement because you may not solve it yourself.

    It's important to note that The Big Picture's additional point requirement is not permanent - even if you haven't already completed the requisite missions when the card is played, if you do so later, The Big Picture no longer affects you. Just as Q's Planet's extra-40-point requirement goes away, for both players, as soon as that mission is solved, The Big Picture's extra-40-point requirement goes away for each player as soon as that player solves (or completes scouting) two missions with point boxes, one Space icon and one Planet. In other words, you don't evaluate the victory conditions just at the time that The Big Picture is played; since it stays on the table, the text is always in effect. At any given time, the victory conditions for each player are determined by what missions he has completed (or scouted) at that time.

    There really is no way around this card. It can't be nullified, so both players are stuck with it. The requirement that the missions have point boxes means you can't satisfy the Planet requirement by solving a quick Q's Planet. And the fact that it specifies "two missions" means you can't get "credit" for both Space icon and Planet by solving one of the dual-icon missions (Tarchannen Study or Deliver Supplies).

    For most affiliations, The Big Picture means that you must select all your missions, even the type you aren't really planning to do, with as much care as you select your mission type of choice, because you may have to solve one of them. It also means you need to balance your skills to include what you need to pass both space and planet dilemmas. If you never bothered with Geology in your Telek R'Mor Astrophysics deck because you weren't going to do those planet missions anyway, or left out Stellar Cartography from your Archaeology deck, because you need it only for space dilemmas and missions, think again. Both could be vital to your success if The Big Picture comes into play.

    The affiliation affected the most might be the Borg. Many successful Borg decks have been built around fast completion of four Establish Gateways with Borg Scout Vessels reported with crew directly to the spaceline. Now the Borg player must be prepared either to assimilate at least one planet, or to score two more Establish Gateways.

    The Major's Combos:

    • The Big Picture + Intermix Ratio: Even the most determined bonus-point strategy will be forced to complete at least two missions - either one each Planet and Space icon, or two of one type that total at least 70 points.
    • The Big Picture + Q's Planet + Fair Play: If your opponent was counting on solving only a selection of his four space missions, he'd better hope they all have high point boxes - or that he can scrape up some bonus points along the way - to net 180 points. Meanwhile, you can ignore Q's Planet and win with 140, as long as you complete at least one Space icon and one Planet mission.